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Coresidence as a Mechanism of Relational Proximity: The Impact of Household Trajectories on the Diversification of Personal Networks

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Family Continuity and Change

Abstract

For a long time, the household unit—that is, the ‘ménage’—has been a privileged doorway to study family and personal life (Laslett 1972; Wall 2005). Yet, the transformations of family arrangements associated with divorce, informal cohabitation, migration, and ageing alongside the pluralization of the life course have been challenging the heuristic potential of the household unit to capture family meanings and practices (Bonvalet and Lelièvre 2013). More recent approaches (e.g., the configurational perspective) highlight the importance of focusing instead on the networks of meaningful relationships in which individuals are embedded in their everyday lives that can go beyond the limits of the household (Widmer 2010).

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This Project was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (PTDC/SDE/65663/2006).

  2. 2.

    To reconstitute household trajectories, we considered with whom individuals coresided over the last two decades. Our approach to household trajectories draws on the contributions of family historians (Hammel and Laslett 1974; Laslett 1972). We adapted their theoretical and methodological tools by positioning individuals (ego) within household structures. Our examination of the empirical development of biographical events associated with coresidence does not anticipate a model of predefined sequence of stages and transitions.

  3. 3.

    The attribution of substitution and insert / deletion cost is a key element of optimal matching analysis (Abbott and Hrycak 1990; Gauthier 2013). Costs can be set using several methods. In our case, INDEL costs were set at 1 and substitution costs were differentiated according to their (inversed) relative transition frequency (more frequent transitions are less costly, less frequent transitions are more costly).

  4. 4.

    We used the average number of elements cited in each type of tie because we followed the same methodological procedure as Widmer (2010) to create the configurational typology, thus, ensuring future comparability. However, we assume that the proportion of elements cited in each type of tie would have been more accurate to assess the representativeness of these ties within the networks.

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Correspondence to Vasco Ramos .

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Ramos, V., Gouveia, R., Wall, K. (2017). Coresidence as a Mechanism of Relational Proximity: The Impact of Household Trajectories on the Diversification of Personal Networks. In: Česnuitytė, V., Lück, D., D. Widmer, E. (eds) Family Continuity and Change. Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-59028-2_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-59028-2_9

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